Resolution: Scientific Standards in Academia and Education
CSI, ECSO and GWUP
May 31, 2012
At the occasion of the 6th World Skeptics Congress in Berlin, CSI, ECSO and GWUP adopted a resolution calling for high standards of scientific practice in scientific institutions and in science education.
Scientists and skeptics from around the world are deeply concerned with the growing tolerance, acceptance, and even promotion of pseudoscientific and occult ideas and practices within scientific, academic and educational institutions. Students worldwide are in danger of being instructed in the unsubstantiated claims of ideologues and purveyors of pseudoscience, rather than learning to base conclusions on dependable, scientific knowledge. Scientists and academics may be reluctant or afraid to speak up, even when scientific principles and criteria are blatantly violated, fearful of antagonizing colleagues or those on whom their own careers may depend.
At the occasion of the Sixth World Skeptics Congress in Berlin, CSI, ECSO and GWUP call for high standards of scientific practice in scientific institutions and in science education. They call on scientists and academics worldwide to raise their voices when pseudoscience is being established within academic and instructional institutions. When such institutions are publicly funded, it is additionally of crucial importance that taxes not be used to promote pseudoscience or ideologies.
Specifically, we call on all those responsible to:
- Ensure that universities, medical institutions, and colleges teach dependable, scientific knowledge and resist the temptation to let unproven claims enter professional education; such institutions are obliged to assist students to clearly distinguish between science-based and unscientific methodologies within the context of science and evidence-based medicine; and
- Ensure that scientific standards of evidence-based medicine are applied without compromise, resisting attempts to grant exemptions for ideological or commercial reasons to some forms of therapy that potentially risk patient welfare; and
- Ensure that schools base the science curriculum on accepted science, rejecting attempts to influence the curriculum on ideological, political or religious grounds, such as has occurred with the teaching of evolution and climate change;
We also call upon our sister skeptical organisations from around the world in the spirit of consumer protection to commit themselves to ensuring good science within academia and schools, in addition to continuing their efforts to promote science and critical thinking to the public.